When you own a pet and rent you probably already know it is much harder to find a new home. Understandably, many landlords are reluctant to rent to pet owners since some owners allow their animals to damage property or disturb neighbors.
Fortunately, these people are the exception. However, that doesn’t make it any easier for responsible pet owners to find accommodations. Here are a few suggestions to get you and your pet into a new home.
Allot Additional Time
Pet owners have fewer places to choose from so they should start their search at least a few months before they need to move. The Humane Society of the United States suggests you contact a local real estate professional, network with friends and family, and regularly check websites and community message boards for leads.
Don’t try to hide the fact you own a pet. If the landlord discovers you’ve been dishonest they can terminate your rental agreement. Don’t risk it – it’s far better to let them know. Sometimes landlords advertise “no pets,” but they’re actually only worried about specific breeds.
Ask Past Landlords for References
If you’ve lived in a rental property with a pet, ask your past landlord for a letter of reference. Landlords want to know you and your pet behave responsibly, including respecting their property and other tenants.
View The Property
Desperate pet owners may grab onto an available rental without thoroughly assessing its’ suitability. Some units are too small to accommodate a pet while others have thin walls that don’t block the sounds from other pets. Visiting the property gives you a chance to talk to other tenants to discover what the landlord is like and what it’s like to live in the building with a pet.
Arrange a Meeting
If the property looks promising, ask the landlord if they would like to meet your pet. Sometimes this is the deciding factor for a landlord if they’re still not sure whether they want to rent to a pet owner.
Well-socialized, friendly, spayed or neutered, flea-treated, and trained animals are often what landlords want to see before they say, “Yes!”
Propose a Trial Period
If the landlord is still hemming and hawing, suggest a short-term trial period so they can judge whether you and your pet suit the property and their expectations. Put the arrangements in the rental agreement and expect to pay an additional pet deposit too.
Don’t Add Pets Without Permission
Enthusiastic pet owners may assume they can adopt or buy another pet when their property is “pet-friendly.” However, your rental agreement may specify how many pets you can have and sometimes the size and breed, too. Besides, it’s the polite thing to do.
Read Rental Agreement Carefully
The language in your rental agreement is the only thing that counts if there’s ever a problem. Ensure the rental agreement states you’re entitled to keep a pet.
If it says “no pets,” replace it with an appropriate clause. Both you and the landlord should initial the change. If the landlord wants a security deposit for your pet, it should also be in the rental agreement. Once you and the landlord sign ask for a copy of the rental agreement and store it in a safe place.
If a landlord allows a pet, act responsibly and care for your pet. You’ll also want to carry renters insurance should something go awry. Renters insurance covers damage to other people’s property and liability should your pet hurt someone and they decide to sue.